The Environmental Protection Agency's regulation will have a harsher impact on coal-fueled powered plants than originally thought, and the agency has tried to disguise that impact on the industry and jobs, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said Tuesday.
A tractor trailer navigates mounds of coal after delivering a truckload of coal to Arch Coal Terminals June 3, 2014 in Cattletsburg, Kentucky. New regulations on carbon emissions proposed by the Obama administration have reportedly angered politicians on both sides of the aisle in energy-producing states such as Kentucky and West Virginia. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)
Vitter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, pointed to a Government Accountability Office report that said 13 percent of coal-fueled power plants would close by 2025 because of new EPA rules – but most of those will come by the end of next year. The original estimate was between 2 percent and 12 percent would be retired.
“The EPA’s recently proposed mandates targeting existing power plants carbon dioxide emissions are all pain and no gain," Vitter said. "The GAO report really highlights how the Obama Administration’s policies, as part of its Climate Action Plan, are threatening affordable electricity and American families.”
“As EPA attempts to disguise the devastating effects their proposed rule for existing power plants would have on our domestic energy industry and economy, this GAO report clearly exposes the upcoming danger,” Vitter continued.
The GAO, which serves as Congress's government watchdog agency, released an updated report Monday that stated the coal industry would be hit harder than anticipated because of the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxic Standards or MATS.
“EPA told us that it is conducting outreach on 316(b), but in its analysis supporting the rule, EPA found that no generating units would close due to the rule, and the time frames for units to achieve compliance with the requirements are much longer than they were for MATS,” the GAO report said.
That's not the case, based on the GAO finding. The biggest impact will take place in four states, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. Fewer of the older power plants will be retrofitting their plants to comply with the EPA rules.
“Specifically, our analysis indicates that power companies retired or plan to retire about 13 percent of coal-fueled net summer generating capacity (42,192 MW) from 2012 through 2025, which exceeds the estimates of 2 to 12 percent of capacity we reported in 2012,” the GAO report says. “In addition, power companies have planned or completed some type of retrofit on about 70,000 MW of net summer generating capacity to reduce SO2, NOx, or particulate matter from 2012 through 2025, which is less than estimates we reported in 2012.”
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